Italy is going one step further to support Ukraine in its war against Russia. Mario Draghi announced on 16 April 2022 that Italy, in agreement with NATO, was planning to send additional weapons to help fight Russia, as the Russian offensive towards Donbass becomes clearer. The Italian government is reportedly preparing to issue a third inter-ministerial decree to this effect.
A first decree in March provided for the sending of missiles to Ukraine. A second decree is to be issued in the same way. A third decree will provide for the shipment of two types of anti-aircraft missiles and also troop transport vehicles, according to the revelations of Il Corriere della Sera in its April 24th edition. “The shipment of military equipment is authorised until 31 December 2022,” said Defence Undersecretary Giorgio Mulè. “Certainly we are not sending planes or tanks; from a military point of view, it does not change much compared to those we already sent,” Mulè defended. He did not rule out the possibility that other shipments could be made at a later date depending on the needs of the Ukrainian government. The position of EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who believes that “more arms to Ukraine does not mean more war,” is also being defended by Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.
This decision is not unanimously supported by the Italian population. Almost half of Italians (48%) are opposed to sending arms to Ukraine, while only 29% are explicitly in favour. The question of the embargo on Russian oil will also have to be decided at some point because, in the words of Prime Minister Draghi, “the money that goes to Russia does nothing but finance the invasion of Ukraine.”
The Italian head of government’s visit to Kyiv is scheduled to take place soon. “Italy has stood by us very clearly amid the war between Russia and Ukraine, and I am grateful to the Italian government, the Italian people, and Premier Mario Draghi. We are waiting for him here,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said.
Hélène de Lauzun studied at the École Normale Supérieure de Paris. She taught French literature and civilization at Harvard and received a Ph.D. in History from the Sorbonne. She is the author of Histoire de l’Autriche (Perrin, 2021).